The poor PML-N! It is under fire these days. Its voter was hoping for an economic relief but did not get it. In fact, ever since PML-N has arrived, the daily struggle to make both ends meet became harder for the working class. The PTI is lucky. No matter what it does, its supporters stick by its side. PTI failed to deliver an impressive performance in its three years in power, yet its voters passionately defend every policy that it made. Unlike PTI, PML-N is not so lucky. Its voters are somewhat rational. They don’t stick around when PML-N fails to deliver.
During the no-confidence motion, PML-N created an environment that gave a new hope to its voter. It clearly stated that it is going after Imran Khan to end inflation and economic chaos. A lot of notable anchors and newspersons repeatedly asked PDM leaders what will be their counter policy to fix the economy, however PML-N leaders did not reveal anything.
Since they were experienced, many people were hoping that PML-N must have a backup plan, otherwise why would it take such a huge risk. But, the pessimists were cynical that PML-N has no solution and it is being used for the sake of infamous decisions only. Critics were skeptical that PML-N is only coming back to power to amend policies that held them accountable for a long time. PML-N had indeed no concrete alternative policies to fix the economy. It just saw an opportunity to dethrone Khan and rushed, without considering what he was leaving behind for them.
The PML-N is like a child who came to the examination hall, without preparation. And to its dismay, everything was out of syllabus. Now, many will argue, “C’mon, we need money and they are taking it from the IMF, we will be okay”, but honestly tell me, is this a long-term solution? How long can we survive like this? A year? Two years? Three years at max (and this is an exaggeration) What will we do then? Raise petrol price by 700 rupees for another IMF bailout? The IMF is not a long-term solution. It is a short-term solution that comes with disastrous consequences for the working class.
IMF only gives money when the government ensures that that they can return it back after a certain period of time. For the sake of this surety, they have to put the burden of taxes on us. Then IMF grants its bailout and we, the citizens pay the price for it. Ideally, if a country is facing economic chaos, it can seek a bailout, bringing breakthrough economic reforms in the meantime.
Back in 2013, when PML-N sought a bailout from the IMF, and it was supposed to use it wisely, instead it wasted that money on show-off projects like Metro instead of investing in revenue generators like web, tech, machinery, tourism, e-commerce and worthy exports. And brace yourself for a bumpy ride ahead because PML-N still learned nothing. It came unprepared with only one solution in mind, IMF. But the economy has now come to a point where even IMF cannot bring economic relief. 2022 is not the time to use the strategies that were applied in 2013 and PML-N does not seem to get it.
My prime minister lauded overseas Pakistanis for sending record remittances in the tough times, but ironically he himself, his brother, his son, and even his nephews (who are billionaires by the way), did not transfer their assets to Pakistan, neither invested their money when we needed it the most. His fellows like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Asif Ali Zardari are billionaires, their contribution alone could be more helpful than the whole IMF bailout package, but why bother.
Now PML-N will pay the price for this. They will lose a considerable number of voters. The two-thirds majority will be a dream. Next time when there will be an election, they can only form a government if they have allies. Even after a proper election, they are likely to get the majority like a caretaker set up, which will not be powerful.
What happened to PML-N is a classic for those who rely merely on their intuition and go with the flow. Politics is not a joke. A country is not a joke. The post of prime minister is not merely about enjoying privileges and amending NAB; with perks comes the responsibilities as well. If you want to replace someone, you have to prove you are better than your predecessor, which requires a lot of homework beforehand.
Learning from PML-N, next time, do not show up anything without a proper homework. Do not go for the exam without preparing for it. Do not jump, without a parachute, otherwise, you’ll end up like PML-N.